The Best Scholarship Interview Tips

Learn what it takes to ace a scholarship interview. Find out what questions you may be asked, what to wear and more!

Shawna Newman

March 22, 2023

The Best Scholarship Interview Tips
Preparation is the key to confidence.
The scholarship interview phase is one of the final stages to winning a scholarship. Most scholarships don’t require an interview. Notable scholarships and those with large awards may require an interview for scholarship finalists. High school and college students that reach the final scholarship judging process have a good chance of winning. This part of the scholarship process is a way for the application judges to get a feel for who you are. They can evaluate your presence, character, and personality.

How to Pass Your Scholarship Interview

This “final leg” may give you the jitters because you don’t want to blow your chances of earning that scholarship! But with a little prep work, you can ace your scholarship interview.

Practice Interviews

Just as with most things in life, the more you prepare the better off you are. Preparation is the key to confidence. Presenting yourself and answering questions in an assured manner will impress the scholarship committee. Ask a friend or parent to help you with a mock scholarship interview and practice answering the questions below.

Common Scholarship Interview Questions

• Why did you apply for this scholarship? • How do you plan on paying for college? • What's your greatest strength? • What are some of your hobbies? • Are you in any extracurricular activities? If so, please tell us about them. • What would your teachers or instructors say about you? • What’s your greatest academic achievement? • Share a personal achievement you're proud of. • How will you use your college degree? • Is there a role model that inspires you? • Is there a way you stay motivated? Share this with us. • Where do you see yourself working after college graduation? • Tell us about your career goals. • Do you have any questions for us?

What to Bring to a Scholarship Interview

Don’t be surprised if you’re asked for a remote interview. Be mindful of the location you choose to have your Zoom interview or e-interview. Make sure you won’t be interrupted! Here’s what to bring to your scholarship interview, remote or in-person: • Copy of your scholarship application and your essay. This may be nice to reference, should the judges call out a specific part of the application or your essay. • Notepad and pen. It never hurts to take notes. This shows you’re serious about the scholarship interview. You can also reference your notes to send a personalized thank you email after the scholarship interview. • Your brag sheet or resume. You may have the opportunity to highlight personal wins from these documents. Sometimes it’s easy to forget or get sidetracked; this serves as a quick, visual reminder. • References. You may be asked for your references on the spot. It’s not easy to remember phone numbers and email addresses on the fly. • Folder with your awards (if applicable). This shows you’re organized. • List questions for the judges interviewing you. Write down a few questions you may have for the judges. • A smile. A smiling face shows the judges just how excited you are for this opportunity.

Scholarship Interview Outfit

It’s important to dress appropriately for your interview. Business casual attire is a good standard to aim for. Be sure you feel comfortable in the outfit you’re wearing and that you avoid any low-cut shirts, clothes that are too small or shoes that are uncomfortable. Female students should wear dress slacks, a long skirt with a blouse or a simple statement dress. Wear flats or closed-toed shoes. Male students are encouraged to wear button-down shirts and slacks. You can choose to dress it up with a tie if you’d like. Ensure your dress shoes have traction; you don’t want to slip on any surfaces.

Arrive Early to Your Interview

Don’t just aim to arrive on time. If you’re commuting to your scholarship interview, plan to arrive early. Always prepare for the unexpected. You could run into traffic or make an unexpected detour. If you arrive at the building early, wait and plan to enter 15 minutes before your scheduled interview. If your interview is remote, be at the location you’ll be interviewing with your computer set up and ready to go 20 minutes before the scheduled scholarship interview.

Scholarship Interview Etiquette

Don’t forget to handle yourself in a proper fashion. Imagine you’re meeting someone for the first time. Key etiquette qualities to remember include:

Be Yourself

There’s no one like you. Own it.

Be Confident

If you’re confident, then you’re already ahead.

Be Kind & Thankful

It's strongly recommended to write a personalized thank you note after your interview. You can email or mail it. Mailing your thank you may take longer, but this delivery method stands out—it's rare to get thank you mail today!

Ask Questions

For some judges, it’s considered rude if you have no questions. Here are a few you could consider asking: • What are the top qualities you’re looking for in the scholarship winner? • Will the winner be expected to make any public appearances? • What excites or impresses you the most about this scholarship opportunity? • What are the next steps in this scholarship interview process?

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